"GLPA, We Have a Problem--Light Pollution."
Workshop at the 40th Annual Conference of
the Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA)
The Great Lakes Planetarium Association (GLPA) addressed light pollution at its 40th Annual Conference with a workshop dedicated to sharing techniques for preserving the night sky. Workshop attendees addressed lighting issues from the perspectives of varied interest groups and stakeholders. Many of the workshop activities can be used by other dark sky advocates as they, too, spread the message.
The workshop suggested that the best arguments for getting municipalities to implement lighting ordinances relate to motorist/pedestrian safety, prevention of light trespass, and energy savings. One teacher who requires her students to do a project on lighting issues noted that her students consistently embrace the arguments that support the well-being of animal life. Astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts, while benefactors of dark skies, are the primary bell-ringers calling attention to the issues. They have a tradition of observing the sky, quantifying the brightness of objects within the starfield, and monitoring the sky's viewing conditions; hence, the sky-watching community is positioned to be a steward of the night..
Co-host Mitch Luman introduced lighting issues by illustrating the win-win nature of dark sky advocacy. Photographs of blatant light pollution emphasized where gains could be readily realized. Luman also stressed that proper lighting should be full-fledged, not a series of good fixtures negated with a light-bombing bad fixture.
The workshop introduced participants to a series of light pollution resources that are particularly valuable to planetariums and museums. The complete handout with links to resources includes IDA-affiliate contacts for GLPA states and other items addressed in the workshop, including:.
Some discussion discussed legislation efforts by some workshop attendees. Samples of state statutes and local ordinances are at http://icole.home.att.net/links.html#anchor3.
Final handouts included:
The workshop concluded with a demonstration of the Sky Quality Meter (SQM) from Unihedron. The handheld device measures the sky brightness on a logarithmic scale. Through the generosity of Unihedron, an SQM was given away as a door prize.
Workshop co-host Mitch Luman presents an SQM, courtesy of Unihedron, to Bill Huston of Indiana.
Bill Huston displays his Sky Quality Meter (SQM), which allows him to quantify sky brightness.
Copyright ©2009 Chuck Bueter. All rights reserved.